A Heavenly Calling (7)
“For we share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
We have seen that the heavenly calling is a calling from heaven, for heaven, and to heaven. It comes to us from God, speaking out of His Word. It summons us to a higher life, one that mirrors the beauties and virtues of the throne room of God. And living such a life will deliver us ultimately into the eternal bliss and glory of the heavenly rest of God.
All of this, all this glorious heavenly calling, is ready for us to share in by considering Jesus, trusting in Him, and through knowing and obeying Him, being faithful to God. The true Christian is the one who, having professed faith in Jesus, strives each day to share in the heavenly calling, filled with hope, joy, confidence, and resolve to honor God with all our hearts, minds, words, and deeds.
And if we persist in this life, thus proving that we do, indeed, belong to Jesus, the day is coming, our writer promises, when we will actually share in Jesus in a very real and special way. The Apostle John looked forward to the day when we would finally see Jesus face to face. He said that on that day we would be like Jesus – like Him, but not Him. We who believe are not on our way to becoming little gods. But we are on our way to becoming like God, and to sharing in the resurrection and glorified life of Jesus Christ in the new heavens and new earth (1 Jn. 3:1-3).
What does this mean? It means that a day is coming when our bodies and souls will be completely delivered from the penalty, power, and presence of sin. We will be “saved to the uttermost” by our great High Priest Who is even now interceding for us and preparing a place for us to be with Him forever. All our thoughts and affections – pure! All our desires and conversations – holy! All our actions toward others – just and loving! All our interactions with God’s new creation – perfect stewardship! All our worship of God – entirely in the Spirit and truth of the Lord! No longer will guilt or shame dress or drag us down. No longer will physical weaknesses or ailments keep us from enjoying life. No longer will we have to fear the trials of life, threats of danger, or the coming grave. When we see Jesus and begin fully to share in His life and glory, then our heavenly calling will make complete sense, and we will be very glad – eternally glad – that we made it a point to pursue that heavenly calling during the years of our earthly sojourn.
What about you? Do you have the sense of being endowed with a heavenly calling? Have you heard the Word of God calling you to leave behind your unbelieving, sinful ways, and to embark on a life of righteousness, peace, and joy in the Spirit (Rom. 14:17, 18)? Have you trusted in Jesus – really trusted in Him, so that you are sharing in His heavenly calling and striving to be faithful to God every day? Do you seek out the face of Jesus, for the glory revealed there? Do you cast aside all grumbling, complaining, and every self-seeking, self-serving way in order to show and share Jesus with others? Is it the highest joy of your life to share in a daily walk with Jesus, and to anticipate the day when you will share in Him fully, forever?
Friends, the world is weary of two-bit Christians. If you call yourself a Christian but you really aren’t serious about taking up and sharing in God’s heavenly calling, then admit right now that your faith is not genuine, and either lay it aside and get on with your life, or seek out someone who can really lead you to know and serve the Lord of glory. There is a heavenly calling, dear friends, and it is really real. If you share in it, you know it. If you don’t – you can. The question of whether you will? Well, that’s entirely up to you.
How would you present the “heavenly calling” to an unsaved friend? Make a little outline, practice saying it with some Christian friends, then try it out in a conversation with an unsaved neighbor or co-worker. As you do, “listen” for God to guide your conversation while you listen to your friend’s responses and questions.
This week’s series, A Heavenly Calling, is available in a free downloadable format, suitable for group study.
For more insight to this heavenly calling, order the book, The Radical Disciple, by John Stott, from our online store. Or read the article, “Manufacturing Converts or Making Disciples?” by Trudy Chun.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.